1) Scale - The last time I played, it was 6 players putting whatever the hell they could on the board. Frankly, it was a right, mess, and while it looked pretty cool to see such a ludicrous number of models in one place, it took an insane amount of time to set up and play a turn. Hell, that game didn't even really get very far past Turn 3. And despite the huge area we had available, the table was crowded as hell. It really didn't look like 2 skillfully wielded armies as much as 2 colourful mobs mashing together in a riot.
In this game, it was a 3 vs 3 battle, Chaos Marines vs Regular Marines + 2 Blood Angels (I was on the Chaos side), with each player fielding ~2,000pts, for a neat total of 6,000 pts a side. Big enough to be significantly bigger than a regular game, and small enough not to eat up an entire day. In fact, due to a cunning strategy from my team and a little luck, the game took about 5 hours, including lunch.
2) Organization - This event was planned flawlessly. Hats off to Wong for the insane amount of effort he'd put in to a game he wasn't even playing in. Over the course of a month, the players were briefed, army lists compiled, checked, strategies discussed, army lists checked again, minor battles affecting the main event were organized, strategies rethought, debated again, all contributing to an excellent buildup to an excellent event.
|There was Photoshop and characterful trash talk, too. How awesome is that?|
When the day actually came, my team reviewed a plan that took several days in the making, deployed with military efficiency, and executed the plan magnificently. The result? By the end of Turn 4, the enemy was left with 3 models on the board, huddling in the crater where their Stormraven had crashed and burned, whereas the Chaos side had lost 4 units.
It was glorious. 5 hours of one epic moment after the other as our plan unfolded and the Imperials were torn to pieces. Examples of such moments:
1) 4 Havocs with autocannons fire a salvo into the side of a Vindicator, exploding it. Not to be outdone, a nearby Forgefiend blew apart a Stormraven as it swooped onto the table. The Forgefiend went on to work in concert with a Helldrake, wrecking 2 Rhinos while the Helldrake annihilated the contents. The Havocs were later shredded to mush by the combined firepower of 3 outflanking Baal Predators.
|I LOVE DAEMON ENGINES!|
2) A Reclusiarch and his accompanying Assault Terminators, fresh from pummeling the Mutilator which had rudely blown up their Land Raider, suddenly find themselves surrounded by 20 of the Black Legion. He and the Terminators are promptly executed by a fusillade of melta and bolter fire.
|And this guy, all poised to win a boon off the Reclusiarch's miserable hide, was sorely disappointed to see said Reclusiarch blasted to slag by over-enthusiastic melta gunners.|
3) The Loyalist forces thunder forward at what seems to be an absurdly vulnerable, clumped-up deployment. Stormravens swoop in as well, and the Loyalist forces, guns at the ready, are dismayed to find the enemy vanish behind a cloud of smoke.
4) In a devastating counterstrike, 4 Helldrakes, 2 Daemon Princes and 12 Obliterators appear on the board, reaping a massive toll. Over 30 marines, the Predator squadron, a Stormraven, a Land Raide and 2 Warlords (Chaplain Cassius and a Reclusiarch) were sent to the Emperor's side, striking the Loyalists a blow that they'd never recover from.
And that's just what I managed to see from my side of the table. No doubt there were dozens of little dramas happening elsewhere, like where the Obliterators made their appearance and a squadron of Predators were very suddenly reduced to smouldering craters. Or in the skies, as Helldrakes wrested aerial supremacy from the Stormravens. Or the centre of the table, where Chaplain Cassius, picking himself up from the broken wreck of his Land Raider, suddenly found himself facing down a depraved Emperor's Children Lord on a bike, bearing the Murder Sword with his name on it....
So, long story short, Apocalypse can be a whole heap of fun. Planned right, it doesn't have to be a messy scrum of "my collection vs your collection" but can in fact offer a deeply engaging experience that richly rewards good planning and preparation. Can't wait til the next big scrap...
Thanks again, Wong. You've really outdone yourself. And thanks to my teammates - we really pulled together and gave those Imperials a drubbing they won't forget in a hurry...
Right, that's it from me. I need to pay some attention to my other armies, now...